This is a repost from Watsons Unleashed, where I shared love lessons I’d learned by my husband’s and my fifth wedding anniversary in May 2010. At the end of this month, we celebrate our 10th anniversary and so I’ll be writing about love, marriage, and relationships for the next few weeks.
I’ve learned a lot about myself and about love in Brian’s and my time together, both as husband and wife and in the three years we shared before marriage. In celebration of our fifth anniversary, here are five love lessons I’ve learned:
- You can’t change your mate. You have to accept them as they are, in entirety. However, don’t be surprised when they change on you. Growing and changing along with them is part of the fun!
- Chemistry changes over time. It’s incredibly important to have compatibility and commitment, too.
- The disagreements you have before marriage will continue after you’re married unless you consciously do something to resolve them. Open communication is essential.
- Sometimes you’ll have to choose between being “right” and being “happy.” In relationships and in life, happy is almost always the best answer.
- “Thank you” goes a long way. It’s a given that Brian is our family chef, but I still thank him every day for cooking for us. He, in return, thanks me for being the family dishwasher and laundress. We both feel appreciated and happier as a result.
Update 5/5/2015: Now that Brian and I are 10 years into our marriage, I’m happy to see that I can stand by all the love lessons I shared at year five. Here are a few more observations:
- On change: They say the only constant in life is change. I agree. When I met him, Brian was a pescetarian home brewer (and software engineer). Now he’s a omnivorous mid-distance runner (and software engineer) who appreciates craft beer but doesn’t brew. I’m sure I’ve changed, too, from his perspective.
- On chemistry: There’s nothing like those initial days of infatuation, is there? Chemistry isn’t all fireworks, though. Now that our love has settled into a nice, stable togetherness, I think of chemistry as “clicking.” We just “get” each other, serious to silly.
- On communication: While we’ve long since settled any disagreements we brought into our marriage, I still think communication is one of the most important components of any relationship. It can be so easy to make assumptions about what each other is thinking or to say, “never mind” and walk away. Staying on the same page takes vigilance and a willingness to show up.
- On being right versus happy. The longer I live and the more difficulties I face, the more I realize that my most challenging times have resulted from wanting to teach someone a lesson, from wanting to be right. This is true in marriage, among friends, or in business. Whenever I take on the challenge of meting out justice, I make the situation more stressful for myself and worse in general. It’s not worth it and so, the older I get, the more willing I am to live and let live.
- On saying thanks. Saying “thank you” has become so ingrained in our relationship that, when I first re-read this post, I wasn’t sure whether we even did it anymore. But, as I thought back over the past couple of days, I remember thanking Brian for making dinner and going to the grocery store and him thanking me for cleaning up and washing clothes. It works, even when it’s so natural you forget you’re doing it.
I’ll be back next week with more love lessons.
Photo Credit: Cassandra Deasy Lauters